Jump to content

Banner.jpg.39bf5bb2e6bf87794d3e2a4b88f26f1b.jpg

Newbie seeking advice on camera and lens for DSO, planets and moon WITH camera suitable for eventual telescope use


Recommended Posts

About 50 years ago, I was a keen amateur astronomer in Melbourne Australia, and I'd like to get back into astronomy and astrophotography, but boy have things changed in 50 years!  I'd like to eventually target DSO, the larger planets and the moon.  As I now live in London and suffer from Bortle 8 skies I think things will be challenging but keen to see what can be achieved.  Also, I think whatever equipment I end up investing in will also need to be reasonably portable.

As I'm also a keen photographer, I don't mind investing in gear that can also be used for regular photography.  My plan is to start small and (rapidly) build up my equipment as my expertise and appetite for challenges grows.  So I'm thinking I'll take the following steps:

1) Purchase a DSLR/mirrorless (full frame if possible) camera and a good zoom lens.  Play with this for a while and practice imaging and post processing.  But I'd like to be able to also use the camera on the telescope I end up purchasing (see (3)).  Also will need a good tripod but will need to be suitable for (2).

2) purchase an equatorial mount for the rig to try out longer exposures. 

3) Invest in a reasonable telescope and tracking mount - probably a refractor around 100mm to 120mm for the main scope.  Utilse the camera from (1).

4) Invest in an astrocamera.    

I know I'm asking for a lot, but I want to be able to target DSO, the larger planets and the moon.  I appreciate that to achieve this will be a challenge and a compromise (small f numbers for DSO, larger f numbers for planets) but I think this should be possible with the right combination of main scope and tracker scope and accessories.   I also need the kit to be reasonably portable.

Right now I'm exploring options for Step 1 i.e. camera, lens and tripod.  I'm prepared to spend about UK£2000.  All ideas and comments welcome! 

Edited by Ed Galea
Make aim for step 1 clearer.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the welcome and the reference M40.  I'll have a closer look at this thread, but from what I've seen, most of the contributions involve camera and telescope.  For my step 1, I'm focusing on camera and lens only.   This is a huge site so I guess my question has already been answered a dozen or so times!  Just need to find it.  A current camera I'm considering is the Sony A6400 and the lens that many seem to use, the Samyang 2/135mm.  I'm prepared to spend a bit more, so want to get as much camera and lens for my money as possible.

Thanks again for your comment and reference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Ed Galea said:

Thanks for the welcome and the reference M40.  I'll have a closer look at this thread, but from what I've seen, most of the contributions involve camera and telescope.  For my step 1, I'm focusing on camera and lens only.   This is a huge site so I guess my question has already been answered a dozen or so times!  Just need to find it.  A current camera I'm considering is the Sony A6400 and the lens that many seem to use, the Samyang 2/135mm.  I'm prepared to spend a bit more, so want to get as much camera and lens for my money as possible.

Thanks again for your comment and reference.

The Samyang lens is superb and very highly regarded. I don't have that particular lens but I've got a few other Samyang models and they're all brilliant.

Sony cameras have great sensors but you do need to be careful about their suitability for astrophotography. Sony tend to implement a rather aggressive form of noise reduction which is applied to the raw files themselves and can't be turned off (unless this has changed recently) and it manifests itself by deleting fainter stars from the image, thinking they're actually noise. It's known as the "star eater" bug and it would be worth checking whether it's still an issue for that particular camera.

I'm big fan of mirrorless cameras generally. Their small size, light weight, and short back focus distance makes them a great choice for all sorts of photography, but astrophotography in general. I've got a couple of 24 megapixel Fuji mirrorless cameras which use Sony sensors and are surprisingly good. Different makes and models have their pros and cons and it's not uncommon for cheaper models to be better suited to astro than more expensive ones because they're less likely to have fancy features that you don't need and can't turn off.

You can get great deals by shopping secondhand and there are real bargains to be had in pre-modded cameras that have had their stock filters removed or changed to give them much better red sensitivity and massively improve their performance for astro imaging. My little 24MP full-spectrum modded Fuji only cost me £180 which is less than I'd have to pay to get an existing camera modified.

Gear nowadays is so good that even very low end cameras are far better than what was the state of the art not that many years ago. Cheap kit and putting your efforts into learning the techniques and workflow for astro imaging will deliver far better results than throwing money at the problem but not developing those skills.

Edited by Andrew_B
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Andrew_B, many thanks for the comments - this type of information and insight is what I'm looking for!  I hadn't heard of the 'star eater' issue associated with Sony Sensors before.  The Sony A6400 is not a new camera, its from about 2019 so it may suffer from the problem you describe, if so, that is something to be avoided.   However, I thought the Sony CMOS sensors were amongst the best available in standard cameras.  As I mentioned, I don't mind investing a bit of cash in a good camera and lens as I intend to also make use of them for terrestrial photography too.  I'm a bit cautious when it comes to purchasing a second hand camera, as you don't know how they have been handled.  My wife recently dropped her camera and it has had intermittent problems ever since.  But to look at it you think it had just come out of the box!  I'm more relaxed with purchasing a second hand lens rather than a second hand camera body.

The 'star eating' noise reduction behaviour you mentioned for Sony cameras, is it a software or hardware issue?  As many other cameras use Sony sensors I assume it must be a software issue, but if  a software issue, you'd think  you could turn it off through the user interface?   Thanks for the heads up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Ed Galea said:

For my step 1, I'm focusing on camera and lens only. 

Hi and welcome.

You are absolutely right in saying that you would need camera (modded would be better), lens and a good tripod (preferably one with tracking ability for longer exposures) to start with. Without tracking you will be limited to taking pictures of the moon and star clusters. For milkyway you would need longer exposures from bortle 8 skies. You would need decent filters to reduce light pollution.

I havent seen many adverts for just the mount head and not the tripod, so you might be better off investing in a good mount to start with. Plenty of 2nd hand ones should be available. Aim for something like the EQ5 ones atleast as they are quite stable and support decent payloads for AP. You could start small without a go-to mount and then add RA & DEC motors at a later point in time.

hope this gets you thinking on options and ideas to proceed. :)

Edited by AstroMuni
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As another Londoner who is starting out, I will be following this thread with interest.

Yes, the moon and large planets are the brightest around here, and I have seen the moons of Jupiter captured with a Canon EOS R with an 800mm RF lens. I'll have to check if there was a teleconverter with that as well.... I'll add some information and images in a thread when I get them, or take my own.

Photography is my base, so I am coming at this from the same viewpoint. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Ed Galea said:

Hi Andrew_B, many thanks for the comments - this type of information and insight is what I'm looking for!  I hadn't heard of the 'star eater' issue associated with Sony Sensors before.  The Sony A6400 is not a new camera, its from about 2019 so it may suffer from the problem you describe, if so, that is something to be avoided.   However, I thought the Sony CMOS sensors were amongst the best available in standard cameras.  As I mentioned, I don't mind investing a bit of cash in a good camera and lens as I intend to also make use of them for terrestrial photography too.  I'm a bit cautious when it comes to purchasing a second hand camera, as you don't know how they have been handled.  My wife recently dropped her camera and it has had intermittent problems ever since.  But to look at it you think it had just come out of the box!  I'm more relaxed with purchasing a second hand lens rather than a second hand camera body.

The 'star eating' noise reduction behaviour you mentioned for Sony cameras, is it a software or hardware issue?  As many other cameras use Sony sensors I assume it must be a software issue, but if  a software issue, you'd think  you could turn it off through the user interface?   Thanks for the heads up.

Sony sensors are brilliant but the cameras that use them can have image processing pipelines which implement noise reduction or other 'features' which can't be turned off, even when shooting raw. It's a software issue rather than hardware but if the embedded firmware doesn't allow the user to control these settings then you're a bit stuck.

It's a bit of a cheat by camera manufacturers to make their products seem like they have better noise control than they really do. I don't mind JPEGs with always-on noise reduction but if shooting raw then it should be the unadulterated data coming off the sensor. The problem is partly caused by the kind of obsessive pixel peeping you see in reviews and on websites like dpreview where there's endless moaning about noise when shooting at high ISOs that back in the days of film would have been considered almost unusable and in response manufacturers (not just Sony) have sometimes fiddled the figures. Fuji do it in their higher end X-Trans models (although less aggressively than Sony) which is why I stuck to their cheaper and more basic cameras that use a standard Bayer pattern and produce proper raw files.

You don't have to invest a lot to get good image quality from a camera and there are places like MPB.com which specialised in selling used photo gear and who have a proper returns policy and 6 month guarantee if you'd rather stay away from places like eBay. Something with a similar spec to the A6400 can be had relatively cheaply - the shot below was taken with my £180 eBay special and I think it did a good job for such a basic camera shooting narrowband in H-alpha and O-III. You can put together a very capable kit for a lot less than £2000, especially if you're buying some or all of it secondhand.

 

Cygnus RGB reduced stars.jpeg

Edited by Andrew_B
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 22/10/2021 at 23:51, Andrew_B said:

Sony sensors are brilliant but the cameras that use them can have image processing pipelines which implement noise reduction or other 'features' which can't be turned off, even when shooting raw. It's a software issue rather than hardware but if the embedded firmware doesn't allow the user to control these settings then you're a bit stuck.

It's a bit of a cheat by camera manufacturers to make their products seem like they have better noise control than they really do. I don't mind JPEGs with always-on noise reduction but if shooting raw then it should be the unadulterated data coming off the sensor. The problem is partly caused by the kind of obsessive pixel peeping you see in reviews and on websites like dpreview where there's endless moaning about noise when shooting at high ISOs that back in the days of film would have been considered almost unusable and in response manufacturers (not just Sony) have sometimes fiddled the figures. Fuji do it in their higher end X-Trans models (although less aggressively than Sony) which is why I stuck to their cheaper and more basic cameras that use a standard Bayer pattern and produce proper raw files.

You don't have to invest a lot to get good image quality from a camera and there are places like MPB.com which specialised in selling used photo gear and who have a proper returns policy and 6 month guarantee if you'd rather stay away from places like eBay. Something with a similar spec to the A6400 can be had relatively cheaply - the shot below was taken with my £180 eBay special and I think it did a good job for such a basic camera shooting narrowband in H-alpha and O-III. You can put together a very capable kit for a lot less than £2000, especially if you're buying some or all of it secondhand.

 

Cygnus RGB reduced stars.jpeg

Thanks Andrew_B, the used camera kit website looks very interesting, I'll definitely have a look at some options on that web site.  Going back to the sony 'star eater' features, how do you know if a camera with the sony sensor has the ability to manually turn off the noise reduction?  Great image by the way.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 22/10/2021 at 12:32, AstroMuni said:

Hi and welcome.

You are absolutely right in saying that you would need camera (modded would be better), lens and a good tripod (preferably one with tracking ability for longer exposures) to start with. Without tracking you will be limited to taking pictures of the moon and star clusters. For milkyway you would need longer exposures from bortle 8 skies. You would need decent filters to reduce light pollution.

I havent seen many adverts for just the mount head and not the tripod, so you might be better off investing in a good mount to start with. Plenty of 2nd hand ones should be available. Aim for something like the EQ5 ones atleast as they are quite stable and support decent payloads for AP. You could start small without a go-to mount and then add RA & DEC motors at a later point in time.

hope this gets you thinking on options and ideas to proceed. :)

Hi AstroMuni, thanks for your comment.  For my first step into astrophotography I'm not planning on using a tracking mount.  I want to see what is possible with a camera and lens and I want to learn how to post process.  Assuming I survive step 1, I'll move onto my step 2 and purchase a tracking mount.  But going back to step 1, I thought it would be possible to capture Andromeda M31 and the Orion Nebula without tracking.  I have seen some pretty impressive images of these two targets without tracking.  But not sure if they were in Bortle 8.  Do you think I'll be wasting my time in London (Bortle 8 ) without a tracking mount?

Thanks for your support.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 22/10/2021 at 15:07, AstroGee said:

As another Londoner who is starting out, I will be following this thread with interest.

Yes, the moon and large planets are the brightest around here, and I have seen the moons of Jupiter captured with a Canon EOS R with an 800mm RF lens. I'll have to check if there was a teleconverter with that as well.... I'll add some information and images in a thread when I get them, or take my own.

Photography is my base, so I am coming at this from the same viewpoint. 

Hi AstroGee

London is a challenge with Bortle 8 skies.  As I've mentioned I've decided to try this out in phased steps.  My step 1 is to purchase an unmodded camera and a good lens and a tripod and try some untracked targets.  In step 1 I want to get the hang of taking astrophotographs and develop some expertise in post processing.  With that under my belt, I'll move onto step 2 and purchase a tracking mount for my kit.  But first things first.  In Step 1 I was hoping to be able to take images of targets such as Andromeda (M31) and Orion Nebula.  I've seen impressive images of these two targets untracked, but I'm not sure if they were taken in Bortle 8 skies.  So I guess I'm trying to determine if it is possible to take take images of DSO from London without tracking.  Any suggestions for kit are welcome, I'm starting from scratch so need a camera (also for terristerial photography), a long lens and a descent tripod.  I would also like to photograph the moon and the larger planets in step 1, but that may be asking too much - for the planets?

I'll follow your thread.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Ed Galea said:

Thanks Andrew_B, the used camera kit website looks very interesting, I'll definitely have a look at some options on that web site.  Going back to the sony 'star eater' features, how do you know if a camera with the sony sensor has the ability to manually turn off the noise reduction?  Great image by the way.  

Some of the Canon mirrorless cameras look pretty good - the range of lenses available for EOS mount is huge and being mirrorless the shorter flange focal distance means a lot of other lens types can be used with adaptors. The only downside with a stock camera is that most have relatively little red sensitivity and would need to be modified to fully realise their astro capabilities, but that's something you could have done at a later date.

The aggressive noise reduction kicks in when bulb mode is used on some Sony cameras so exposures of 30s or less would be normal. Other models had this behaviour appear with anything over a 4s exposure which isn't very useful. I found some info about the problem here and here.

Thanks for the kind words about the image. I used a mix of 90s exposures for the H-alpha and 120s exposures for the O-III data which would obviously have run into issues with a Sony camera. It's a shame because they're good cameras otherwise.

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Ed Galea said:

Do you think I'll be wasting my time in London (Bortle 8 ) without a tracking mount?

You will hear lots of comments out there that its not possible to do this and that. But if thats your passion just give it a try. You might not get hubble quality images but you will be amazed with what you can get. So go for it ! 👍

I was told that my scope was not suited for astrophotography as it has a spherical mirror and inferior focuser etc. But I continue to be amazed with what I can capture with it (see my signature). And the thing that helped me to get these images was my investment in a solid mount.

Take a look at https://www.astrobiscuit.com/  He is a Londoner like you and images from his rooftop etc.

Good luck in your journey.

Edited by AstroMuni
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, Andrew_B said:

Some of the Canon mirrorless cameras look pretty good - the range of lenses available for EOS mount is huge and being mirrorless the shorter flange focal distance means a lot of other lens types can be used with adaptors. The only downside with a stock camera is that most have relatively little red sensitivity and would need to be modified to fully realise their astro capabilities, but that's something you could have done at a later date.

The aggressive noise reduction kicks in when bulb mode is used on some Sony cameras so exposures of 30s or less would be normal. Other models had this behaviour appear with anything over a 4s exposure which isn't very useful. I found some info about the problem here and here.

Thanks for the kind words about the image. I used a mix of 90s exposures for the H-alpha and 120s exposures for the O-III data which would obviously have run into issues with a Sony camera. It's a shame because they're good cameras otherwise.

 

Many thanks Andrew_B, those links you provided are excellent, very informative in describing the problem.  They suggest that the Sony A6400 also suffers from 'star eater' behaviour, so I guess I'll have to drop SONY from my list of possible cameras.  The quest for the right camera and lens continues.  I might explore Canon and Fuji next.  There is so much to learn, which is one of the reasons I like this pursuit so much.

Thanks again for the insight

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, AstroMuni said:

You will hear lots of comments out there that its not possible to do this and that. But if thats your passion just give it a try. You might not get hubble quality images but you will be amazed with what you can get. So go for it ! 👍

I was told that my scope was not suited for astrophotography as it has a spherical mirror and inferior focuser etc. But I continue to be amazed with what I can capture with it (see my signature). And the thing that helped me to get these images was my investment in a solid mount.

Take a look at https://www.astrobiscuit.com/  He is a Londoner like you and images from his rooftop etc.

Good luck in your journey.

Hi AstroMuni, 

Thanks for the encouragement. Thanks also for the link to astrobiscuit.  I've only just started exploring it but it looks like a great site. 

Many thanks again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, Ed Galea said:

Many thanks Andrew_B, those links you provided are excellent, very informative in describing the problem.  They suggest that the Sony A6400 also suffers from 'star eater' behaviour, so I guess I'll have to drop SONY from my list of possible cameras.  The quest for the right camera and lens continues.  I might explore Canon and Fuji next.  There is so much to learn, which is one of the reasons I like this pursuit so much.

Thanks again for the insight

I'd be happy with either make but I went with Fuji (X-A3 and X-T100) because their red sensitivity out of the box is pretty good and much higher than other makes apart from dedicated astro models.

Canon have the advantage of having a bigger range of lenses, although mirrorless cameras generally work well with older manual lenses of any type. Software to remote control your camera from a PC is also only available for Canon (and Nikon) cameras from what I've seen and adaptors and accessories can be easier to find.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having recently switched from a Canon 550D to a dedicated astronomy camera i can say that it is worth the money. Its hard to even compare an uncooled noisy DSLR to a cooled and clean astro camera - especially from light pollution. Its hard to say exactly how much better it can be, but i estimate that i get usable exposure (better signal to noise ratio) about 2-3 times faster than with the 550D. But in reality i wouldn't have wanted to start with everything at ones as it is a lot of things to learn. So in that way a DSLR is a good first camera as it is basically plug and play. But its probably a good idea to keep the astro cam in mind for later.

 

Might i suggest you only buy a DSLR, but no lenses for it if the end goal is to do telescope imaging anyway? 2000 pounds is enough for a basic APS-C sensor DSLR, GO-TO mount and a small telescope, basically skipping a few steps for you. Maybe a Skywatcher HEQ-5, some 80mm ED refractor and the various trinkets required for them. Once you grow out of the 80mm refractor you can still keep using the HEQ-5 as it is a fairly capable mount. An EQ-5 would be cheaper and also decent for many sized scopes, but i would advice you to stay away from the EQ-3 /35 class of mounts as their only good points are the price and the size.

The reason you might want to not get a full frame camera is most telescopes are not capable of producing an image (or at least without significant optical troubles) up to full frame sensors. APS-C is actually a big sensor size for telescopes as well, but manageable with almost all scopes. Most targets are small anyway, so this is not as big of a problem as you may think.

 

On 21/10/2021 at 02:59, Ed Galea said:

 I know I'm asking for a lot, but I want to be able to target DSO, the larger planets and the moon.  I appreciate that to achieve this will be a challenge and a compromise (small f numbers for DSO, larger f numbers for planets) but I think this should be possible with the right combination of main scope and tracker scope and accessories.   I also need the kit to be reasonably portable.

You could get something like my setup, a light aluminium newtonian and a weak cheap mount that is portable. I hate the mount and wouldn't recommend anyone do this, but it is technically possible to do all of the things you listed. Its incredibly frustrating to deal with an overloaded mount when clear days are as rare as they are for me (and for UK folks, if im not mistaken?). Newtonians can do DSO and planetary, and are cheap, but they are physically large and act as sails in even low wind speeds. Its probably best to not make the same purchasing decisions that i did, if you're not extremely stubborn and willing to tackle problems left and right.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think an astro modded camera would be best. These can be picked up quite cheapish. I've a canon 1000d modded and still very good. 

The moon with 500mm telephoto lens

Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

Comet Neowise. 

I'm no expert what so ever. 

FB_IMG_1593728658206__01.jpg

received_164669855396457.jpeg

PSX_20200720_215528.jpg.9b7c600aedaafd53d63642b7ab6feea1.jpg

Edited by Nigella Bryant
More comment added.
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to add to the comments above, for £2000 you can certainly get a reasonable set up especially if you are willing to look at used. (Also, if you buy used you will probably get most of your money back if you sell on). There are some decent doublets on Astro Buy and Sell now. I started out with a SW Evostar ED80, HEQ5 and DSLR which is a good combination. I would also add to what has been said above - if you have aspirations to do AP then the mount is the critical piece of kit. I would suggest an HEQ5 or equivalent is probably the minimum for reliable accurate tracking. Yes you can go lighter / cheaper but you are then likely to be fighting the mount as well as everything else. AP is hard enough when you are starting out without adding to the frustrations. Also, if you look at upgrade the HEQ5 has a reasonable capacity.

For the camera I would personally look at Canon. Not because I have any issue with other makes, but it seems that most software and control seems to be designed largely for Canon and other makes can be more problematic to get drivers etc. Also, there are large numbers of used, modified Canon's for sale for less than £200.

Just bare in mind that AP is a money pit. As well as the camera / scope / mount you will need various other kit such as cables, connectors, flatteners, filters etc. So leave some money in your budget for these. In bortle 8 a light pollution filter may be quite high up on your shopping list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Ed Galea said:

Hi AstroGee

London is a challenge with Bortle 8 skies.  As I've mentioned I've decided to try this out in phased steps.  My step 1 is to purchase an unmodded camera and a good lens and a tripod and try some untracked targets.  In step 1 I want to get the hang of taking astrophotographs and develop some expertise in post processing.  With that under my belt, I'll move onto step 2 and purchase a tracking mount for my kit.  But first things first.  In Step 1 I was hoping to be able to take images of targets such as Andromeda (M31) and Orion Nebula.  I've seen impressive images of these two targets untracked, but I'm not sure if they were taken in Bortle 8 skies.  So I guess I'm trying to determine if it is possible to take take images of DSO from London without tracking.  Any suggestions for kit are welcome, I'm starting from scratch so need a camera (also for terristerial photography), a long lens and a descent tripod.  I would also like to photograph the moon and the larger planets in step 1, but that may be asking too much - for the planets?

I'll follow your thread.

I like your approach, methodical and should give progressive results. This is kind of what I'm aiming for - the images I've got so far are not amazing compared to others on this site, but great for me and will hopefully show progression as experience grows. Much more interesting that way also!

The things I've learnt when buying camera gear - second hand lenses (and tripods) are often a bargain as people upgrade to the latest and greatest. Look at the Wex website, and they have a branch in Aldgate. Second, if you can try a camera in your hand to feel the ergonomics this can really make a difference in your motivation to use it. My favourite cameras are not the best spec. on paper but I enjoy using them and makes makes more of a difference.

I've ended up with a Canon mirrorless (I like the ergonomics and usability) with second hand EF lenses with an adapter. Not RF as they are far too expensive comparatively. The exception being the RF 800mm and teleconverter used on the shots in my thread, which I borrowed to test.

If that's any use, let me know! Good luck!

Edited by AstroGee
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 28/10/2021 at 00:53, Andrew_B said:

I'd be happy with either make but I went with Fuji (X-A3 and X-T100) because their red sensitivity out of the box is pretty good and much higher than other makes apart from dedicated astro models.

Canon have the advantage of having a bigger range of lenses, although mirrorless cameras generally work well with older manual lenses of any type. Software to remote control your camera from a PC is also only available for Canon (and Nikon) cameras from what I've seen and adaptors and accessories can be easier to find.

Many thanks Andrew_B, all your comments are great and very useful.  My camera search has led me to the Fujiflim X-T3 or possibly the newer X-T4.  I believe the X-T4 has better video capabilities which may be useful for planetary photography and I think I read somewhere that it is better in low light?.  What do you and the community think about this camera for astrophotography?   Will I be limiting myself in terms of the scope of lenses I can use?  Hopefully, the Samyang 135 has an X mount adapter as this is one of the lenses I'm thinking about getting.  Any advice welcome.

Thanks again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 28/10/2021 at 08:25, Clarkey said:

Just to add to the comments above, for £2000 you can certainly get a reasonable set up especially if you are willing to look at used. (Also, if you buy used you will probably get most of your money back if you sell on). There are some decent doublets on Astro Buy and Sell now. I started out with a SW Evostar ED80, HEQ5 and DSLR which is a good combination. I would also add to what has been said above - if you have aspirations to do AP then the mount is the critical piece of kit. I would suggest an HEQ5 or equivalent is probably the minimum for reliable accurate tracking. Yes you can go lighter / cheaper but you are then likely to be fighting the mount as well as everything else. AP is hard enough when you are starting out without adding to the frustrations. Also, if you look at upgrade the HEQ5 has a reasonable capacity.

For the camera I would personally look at Canon. Not because I have any issue with other makes, but it seems that most software and control seems to be designed largely for Canon and other makes can be more problematic to get drivers etc. Also, there are large numbers of used, modified Canon's for sale for less than £200.

Just bare in mind that AP is a money pit. As well as the camera / scope / mount you will need various other kit such as cables, connectors, flatteners, filters etc. So leave some money in your budget for these. In bortle 8 a light pollution filter may be quite high up on your shopping list.

Thanks Clarkey and AstroGee, appreciate the comments.  I'm totally with you on the mount, when I puchase a tracking mount it will be something substantial that I can grow into and HEQ5 is something I'll consider.  Right now its the camera and lens and suitable mount for this kit.  I hear you about the Canon and the point you make about availability of accessories is important.  But I'm also looking for a camera that can be used for terrestrial photography as well as AP.   So my camera search has led me to the Fujiflim X-T3 or possibly the newer X-T4.  I believe the X-T4 has better video capabilities which may be useful for planetary photography and I think I read somewhere that it is better in low light?.  What do you and the community think about these cameras for AP?  Would the X-T3 be appropriate or should I go for the X-T4, is it worth the extra £££ for AP?  Also, by going the Fujiflims route, will I be limiting myself in terms of the scope of lenses I can use and other accessories?  Hopefully, the Samyang 135 has an X mount adapter as this is ONE of the lenses I'm thinking about getting for AP.  Any advice welcome.

Thanks again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 28/10/2021 at 01:47, ONIKKINEN said:

Having recently switched from a Canon 550D to a dedicated astronomy camera i can say that it is worth the money. Its hard to even compare an uncooled noisy DSLR to a cooled and clean astro camera - especially from light pollution. Its hard to say exactly how much better it can be, but i estimate that i get usable exposure (better signal to noise ratio) about 2-3 times faster than with the 550D. But in reality i wouldn't have wanted to start with everything at ones as it is a lot of things to learn. So in that way a DSLR is a good first camera as it is basically plug and play. But its probably a good idea to keep the astro cam in mind for later.

 

Might i suggest you only buy a DSLR, but no lenses for it if the end goal is to do telescope imaging anyway? 2000 pounds is enough for a basic APS-C sensor DSLR, GO-TO mount and a small telescope, basically skipping a few steps for you. Maybe a Skywatcher HEQ-5, some 80mm ED refractor and the various trinkets required for them. Once you grow out of the 80mm refractor you can still keep using the HEQ-5 as it is a fairly capable mount. An EQ-5 would be cheaper and also decent for many sized scopes, but i would advice you to stay away from the EQ-3 /35 class of mounts as their only good points are the price and the size.

The reason you might want to not get a full frame camera is most telescopes are not capable of producing an image (or at least without significant optical troubles) up to full frame sensors. APS-C is actually a big sensor size for telescopes as well, but manageable with almost all scopes. Most targets are small anyway, so this is not as big of a problem as you may think.

 

You could get something like my setup, a light aluminium newtonian and a weak cheap mount that is portable. I hate the mount and wouldn't recommend anyone do this, but it is technically possible to do all of the things you listed. Its incredibly frustrating to deal with an overloaded mount when clear days are as rare as they are for me (and for UK folks, if im not mistaken?). Newtonians can do DSO and planetary, and are cheap, but they are physically large and act as sails in even low wind speeds. Its probably best to not make the same purchasing decisions that i did, if you're not extremely stubborn and willing to tackle problems left and right.

Thanks Onikkinen, I hear what you are saying and appreciate the advice.  But given that I am in Bortle 8 I'm not sure what I will be able to achieve or if I'll be happy with what I can achieve.  So I want to approach this is a gradual way, taking small steps.  I know this will cost more in the long run, but in the short run, I think it is the most sensible way to approach this.  Especially as I'm also after a good setup for terristerial photography.  I'm totally with you on the mount, when I puchase a tracking mount it will be something substantial that I can grow into and HEQ5 is something I'll consider.  Right now (my Step 1) its the camera and lens and suitable mount for this kit.  I hear you about the astro camera, but that is my Step 4.  But I'm also looking for a camera that can be used for terrestrial photography as well as AP.   So my camera search has led me to the Fujiflim X-T3 or possibly the newer X-T4.  I believe the X-T4 has better video capabilities which may be useful for planetary photography and I think I read somewhere that it is better in low light?.  What do you and the community think about these cameras for AP?  Would the X-T3 be appropriate or should I go for the X-T4, is it worth the extra £££ for AP?  Also, by going the Fujiflims route, will I be limiting myself in terms of the scope of lenses I can use and other accessories?  Hopefully, the Samyang 135 has an X mount adapter as this is ONE of the lenses I'm thinking about getting for AP.  Any advice welcome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 28/10/2021 at 02:33, Nigella Bryant said:

I think an astro modded camera would be best. These can be picked up quite cheapish. I've a canon 1000d modded and still very good. 

The moon with 500mm telephoto lens

Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

Comet Neowise. 

I'm no expert what so ever. 

FB_IMG_1593728658206__01.jpg

received_164669855396457.jpeg

PSX_20200720_215528.jpg.9b7c600aedaafd53d63642b7ab6feea1.jpg

Hi Nigella, thanks for your comments and nice images!  I'd love to be able to achieve something as good with a camera and lens and simple tripod. Right now I trying to take my first step and get a suitable camera and lens and suitable mount for this kit.  My camera search has led me to the Fujiflim X-T3 or possibly the newer X-T4.  I believe the X-T4 has better video capabilities which may be useful for planetary photography and I think I read somewhere that it is better in low light?.  What do you and the community think about these cameras for AP?  Would the X-T3 be appropriate or should I go for the X-T4, is it worth the extra £££ for AP?  Also, by going the Fujiflims route, will I be limiting myself in terms of the scope of lenses I can use and other accessories?  Hopefully, the Samyang 135 has an X mount adapter as this is ONE of the lenses I'm thinking about getting for AP.  Any advice welcome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Similar Content

    • By astrography_MC
      Centaurus A from my Backyard Equipments Used: Explore Scientific ED 127 mm APO Triplet Sony a6400 ZWO LRGB Filters Bresser 90/500 Guiding Kit ZWO ASI 290 MM Guidecam 40x120” each LRGB ( Total 5 hrs 20 minutes integration ) 40 Darks 40 Flats Bortle 3 Zone
    • By Quetzalcoatl72
      Looking for a wide angle lens for scenery and milkyway shots as well as one where I can take large close ups(microphotography) of crystal structure for my mineral collecting hobby and the odd insect I find. 
      Would it be possible to get a 2 in one? if so can you recommend any for my canon 600d? if not then would anyone suggest both? no more than 250 each new or used
      Also as a side note, my camera is modded so pictures have an orange tint to them, I have the AA filter that was removed and either I want to put it back or maybe theres another option, like a correction filter of some kind so I can take normal pictures? I think it is a baader correction filter installed, not sure what that is exactly as i've had it for several years.
    • By Aneko1991
      Hi, I want a telescope and my budget is between 370$ -740$(I want something with a zoom as good as it s possible for this budget). Can you help me to chose one ?
      (buy in the EU)
    • By Humb1e
      Hiya,
      I'm looking a bit of advice / opinions on a telescopes for a beginner, but useful, telescope. 
       
      I've gone through tonnes websites and now seem to find my self going round in circles.......
      I've read that an 8inch dobsonian type will do pretty much everything I want without breaking the bank too much / me outgrowing it very quickly. 
      Main issue is that I'd like to be able to take imagery, whether thats with phone or camera to start I don't know. I understand tracking can be easier with something motorised rather than by hand..... 
      Budget wise, I don't want to spend a small fortune, or, get something I'll need to replace too soon. I'm based South in Manchester, UK, not sure if that has any bearing on choices. 
      It probably needs to be something with low maintenance requirements too. 
      My budget is low at around £300...... Not my decision on this one 😂
       
      Cheers in advance 
    • By jakicevichap
      Hey guys! I'm not sure what to do. I currently have a t7c astro camera (asi120mc clone) and would like to get a better planetary camera. I'm eyeballing the ASI178MM as I've seen some amazing work done with it, but can't find anything substantial on using it with a 6" scope. My scope is a Skywatcher Explorer 150p and I usually use a 3x barlow as well as a svbony ir-pass (685nm) filter when doing high res lunar mosaics. I've seen some awesome work with 127mm scopes and the asi178mm which is why I can't wrap my head around what the results might look like. Will using an asi178mm give me a better result than the t7c when used on same focal lengths (2x, 3x barlows)? I understand that the resolution might be similar between "asi178mm + 2x" and "t7c + 3x" which could help me save time when doing huge mosaics, but is that all that I'd gain from this (not much better resolution?)?
      Let me know please as I'm in a bit of a conundrum. Thanks!
       
      You can find my work with the t7c here.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.